Fired Muslim truck drivers awarded $240,000 after they refused to deliver alcohol shipment

Illinois: Two Somalian-American Muslims were awarded $240,000 by a federal jury in Peoria, Illinois after a judge found the company violated their religious beliefs.

The former truck drivers Mahad Abass Mohamed (formerly known as Mahad Aden) and Abdikarim Hassan Bulshale (formerly known as Abdikarim Ismail) used to work at Morton-based trucking company had refused to deliver alcohol for Star Transport Inc., saying it was against their religious belief as practicing Muslims. As such, they were fired.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought suit on their behalf, and sued it for religious discrimination.

It argued that the employer had failed to accommodate the religious beliefs of employees, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaw discrimination on the basis of religion.

From the press release:
[EEOC trial attorney June] Calhoun said, “This is an awesome outcome. Star Transport failed to provide any discrimination training to its human resources personnel, which led to catastrophic results for these employees. They suffered real injustice that needed to be addressed. By this verdict, the jury remedied the injustice by sending clear messages to Star Transport and other employers that they will be held accountable for their unlawful employment practices. Moreover, they signaled to [plaintiffs] Mr. Mohamed and Mr. Bulshale that religious freedom is a right for all Americans.”

Smason stated, “We are pleased that the jury recognized that these – and all – employees are entitled to observe and practice their faith, no matter what that might be.”

Bulshale commented, “This case makes me proud to be American.”

—With inputs from